Posts Tagged ‘Reign MMA’

RFA 12.5-48

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Resurrection Fighting Alliance returned to the Southern Californian landscape with an evening of combat at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa. The night featured some of the regions top young talent, as well as a good mix of savvy veterans who are hungry to return to prominence. With the vacant lightweight title on the line (vacated by Christos Giagos when he was signed by the UFC), Mehdi Baghdad (11-3 MMA, 1-0 RFA) took on Zach Juusola (10-3 MMA) in evenings main event.

Juusola looked to keep the fight grounded and out of the range of Baghdad’s strikes and did so for the better part of four rounds. However halfway through the fourth round Baghdad unleashed an I.Q. changing elbow that split Juusola apart, before dropping him to his knees. Juusola had just recovered from a low blow. After being given some time to recover, he indicated he was ready to go. The elbow came almost instantly, as did the stoppage.

The win places Baghdad in a good position. If he is signed by the UFC he will join Giagos, Kevin Casey, Brian Ortega, and Alan Jouban as former RFA champions currently employed by the industry leader. However it wouldn’t be surprising to Scott Coker courting him as well.

With Viacom committed, Bellator MMA could be the perfect fit for Baghdad. There he would be able to make good money, in a division with much less clutter. Currently the UFC roster is bloated with over 100 lightweights, whereas Bellator currently only has 27. With the UFC uniform concept yet to be proven profitable, it may make sense to look elsewhere.

In the co-main event fan favorite Joe Murphy (8-1 MMA, 1-0 RFA) starched Brazilian Bruno Frazatto (6-2 MMA, 1-1 RFA) with a dizzying array of strikes, that saw the grappling expert in the fetal position trying to cover up as the referee stopped the fight. Murphy landed with a short lead uppercut that caught Frazatto on the tip of the chin, felling him early in the first round. Much to the delight of the crowd who came complete with signs and t-shirts in support of the Cleber Jiu Jitsu fighter. The win may be enough for Murphy to maneuver himself for a shot at a title.

Chase Gormely (11-4 MMA, 1-0 RF) also cruised to a unanimous decision win over Dale Sopi (6-1 MMA) in a battle of heavyweights. Gormely looking to make his way back to the UFC handed Sopi the first loss of his career. Both fighters appeared to tire after the first frame, but Gormely was able to impose his will on Sopi, consistently taking him to the mat. The win keeps Gormely on track to get back to the UFC ranks.

Francisco France (11-3-1 MMA) made short work of veteran Mikey Gomez (17-11 MMA) winning their fight in the very first round by technical submission. France dropped Gomez with big shot to the top of the head. Once on the mat, a dazed Gomez was unable to prevent France from getting to side control, where the arm in choke put Gomez to sleep. The win may have moved France into title contention.

RFA continues to get better with each show. The main reason for that growth is the talent level they attract! Promoter Ed Soares and his team have created a viable promotion that primarily acts as the bar for the larger organizations. If you can win a title within the RFA organization, chances are you will do very well in the big show. If not, well then this is the measuring stick you need to gauge yourself against. Everyone wants to be in the UFC. First ask yourself if you can make it too RFA!

 

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By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Since Scott Coker has taken over Bellator MMA has survived a lame-duck transitional period of uncertainty only to emerge in a more tenable situation than ever before. The new regime has not only updated the drab promotional image by polishing the broadcast with elaborate entrances, but they have also updated an antiquated roster as well. Coker and has team have signed a diverse group of veteran fighters with name recognition to go along with some of the sports top prospects. The move ensures the future, while staying current with relevant big name fighters headlining televised events.

Two of those prospects are Michael Page (7-0 MMA 3-0 Bellator MMA) and Curtis Millender (7-0 MMA Bellator MMA Debut) who are set to square off in January as part of the promotions series of fights titled ‘The British Invasion’. Page has been highly touted as one of the best young fighters in the welterweight division, while Millender has remained under the radar for the most part. A trend the man they call ‘Courteous Curtis’ plans to reverse with an explosive debut.

In Page, Millender finds his toughest opponent too date. Essentially he will be fighting his mirror image. Both fighters are exactly the same size, at 6’3 they tower over the rest of the division, and both are known for their electric striking. However if the fight were to find its way to the ground, Millender would be comfortable as well. “Let’s just say I am more than comfortable on the ground, and if it does end up there, he is in trouble!”, Millender said.

The fight will be Millender’s first bout outside of the confines of ‘The OC Fight Club Hangar’, a place he has called home for all of his 7 professional fights. A trend that is a direct result of his ability. Once promoter Roy Englebrecht and manager Mel Valenzuela saw ‘Curtious’ in action they knew they had discovered a gem. They locked him up to a contract and then they realized Millender’s main problem. No one wanted to fight him!

Much like Pat Cummins who also trains at Reign MMA, Millender presents a nightmare for most fighters to match up against. His reach and striking prowess make him almost impossible to hit, and even harder to avoid! With opponents heading for the hills, Englebrecht and Valenzuela had to fly in opponents with well known pedigrees to test Millender. The only problem was, he walked through them too!

So now here we are set to witness two of the sports best young welterweights fight each other in the Bellator MMA cage. Even though Millender predicts a victory, he realizes he may see Page again, as this may be an emerging rivalry. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to beat him again!”, Millender said. However he doesn’t see a need for a third! “We are both young and I could see myself having to beat him again, but I don’t think a third time will be necessary!”

The problem facing a prospect is that at some point he has to shed that moniker in order to take on that of a contender. For Millender this journey started long ago. The countless hours of preparation are starting to pay off. However the hard work is just beginning. Although Bellator MMA currently only has 23 current welterweights on the roster, the depth of talent makes it one of the toughest divisions in the promotion. With current champion Douglas Lima scheduled to fight British slugger Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley, the winner of this bout could find himself on a short list of contenders for the 170 lbs title.

Curtis Millender (7-0 MMA) is signed to Bellator MMA and  is represented by Mel Valenzuela. Millender would like to thank his family, and friends, and coaches for supporting his career, but especially wants to thank anyone who “ever gave [him] a ride to the gym”. He would also like to personally recognize Roy Englebrecht and his manager Mel for supporting his efforts.

Curtis Millender is currently sponsored by: Everlast,  Via Diamond Termite, Nu Image Marketing, Kolor Splash of Anaheim, and JP 23 BBQ , and Grand Casino Bakery of Culver City.

Millender trains out of UFC Gym Fullerton and Reign Training Center

 

chaos5

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Realizing a dream, and living one are completely different animals. The first is beset by big league aspirations where hard work and determination get you to the big show. The later is rarely an ambition until the earlier is in the rear view mirror. Most mixed martial artists dream of making it to the UFC. Few have the foresight to learn how to stay there.

Early success often teach harsh lessons later in life. Athletes often mature physically way before they develop mentally enough to handle such success. Chase Gormley (9-4 MMA) at one time was 6-0 with only 2 decisions to his credit. He was exciting to watch, and his powerful hands left opponents asleep and the fans cheering. His size, strength, grit and blue collar mind set made him ripe for the picking. And before he was ready, like many others, Gormley was plucked from the regional vine and thrust into the maelstrom of The UFC.

Physically he was a gifted specimen and riding the win streak when the UFC came knocking Gormley was more than willing to open the door. “When the UFC calls, you answer the call!” Gormley said. “My first fight was cancelled because my opponent was injured.” This led to a long layoff, which left him out of peak form, and according to the lumbering heavyweight “The UFC is not the place for you to knock off the ring rust!”

That rust was removed rather quickly by 7 foot heavyweight Stefan Struve, who was able to submit Gormley with a triangle choke in the first round of their fight. The first fight in the UFC for Gormely, ended with his first loss as a professional.

Chalking it up to the aforementioned ‘ring rust’ Gormley returned at ‘UFC Live 1 Vera vs Jones’ and faced a very tough Brendan Schaub. Ready to make his splash in the big pond, Gormely was set to make his mark. The fight lasted just :47 seconds.

In just :47 seconds Chase Gormley went from ‘Promising UFC heavyweight’ to being cut by the promotion after just 2 fights. Wondering what was next? Gormley continued fighting on the regional circuit. Alternating wins and losses, his once promising career now toiled in the balance.

“The love wasn’t there anymore!”, Gormley said. “I was only training twice a week, the losses started building, and I just lost the love!” Gormely said. “I retired, because I didn’t have my heart in the sport anymore.”

For almost 2 years, Gormley was content to remain ‘the guy that made it to the UFC’, but a phone call from a well known UFC fighter changed everything. “I got a call from Roy Nelson, who wanted me to help him train for the Cormier fight.” Gormley said. That phone call reignited the fire that once fueled a promising career.  After that training camp Chase returned to training but this time with a completely different mind set.

Winning his first fight back (a tune up fight in Kuwait), Gormley is now training full time with several different teams. Currently working with Antonio McKee’s Bodyshop, Mark Munoz’s Reign MMA, and with Tracy Hess at Subfighter, Gormley is again looking to make a name for himself as a fighter. This time, he plans on taking his time and building slowly to become the kind of fighter who can stay at the top!

His next test is against savy cage veteran Tony Lopez (34-14 MMA)  at ‘Chaos At The Casino 5‘. Lopez, a well known So-Cal native has fought in every major organization except the UFC. He has notable wins over Kyle Kingsbury, Wes Combs, and Joey Beltran, and is looking to build a winning streak for one last run in the sport. This fight will test Gormley, a test he is ready for, pass or fail.

A more matured Gormley although optimistic, is very measured when he discusses his chances. “Tony is no slouch, the guy has fought all over the world.” Gormley said. “I know he is real tough, and win or lose its a good situation for me. If I can beat him its a huge win, and if I lose then I will know what I have to work on, its a win win situation! ”

For Gormely each fight used to be the last. As a young fighter his physicality alone was able to carry him all the way to the UFC. Now that his technique and demeanor have matured, he seems back on course. Still fairly young, the future is again ahead of the once promising heavyweight. Chase Gormley has been to the top before, and there is no reason to think he can’t once again achieve his octagon dreams.

For now though, Gormley continues to climb the mountain one step at a time. Each foothold is secured, and each harness fastned. His movements are deliberate and planned. No longer living punch to punch, a more mature fighter is left again at the foot of the mountain. His goal this time is not only getting to the summit, but this time Gormley is making certain he stays on top!